Joint Press Statement of President of the Republic of Indonesia and Prime Minister of Malaysia, Friday, 5 February 2021 at Merdeka Palace, Jakarta
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
Excellency Prime Minister of Malaysia Muhyiddin Yassin and entourage.
First of all, I would like to say welcome to Jakarta, welcome to Indonesia. It is an honour for us to receive the visit from Prime Minister Muhyiddin and the entourage.
Indonesia and Malaysia are close neighbors with the same root. Malaysia is one of Indonesia’s important partners in trade, investment, tourism and socio-cultural sectors. We will continue to strengthening good relations between the two countries through good communication at all levels.I have told the Prime Minister that if there is an issue even the minor one, he can call me anytime to talk it out. It is such a close relations.
The bilateral meeting with PM Muhyiddin has been conducted in a good, open, and comprehensive manner. I would like to express my appreciation for the cooperation in protecting Indonesian citizens in Malaysia, especially during the pandemic. I trust the Indonesian citizens in Malaysia in the good care of Malaysian Government. Regarding the protection of Indonesian migrant workers, I emphasized the importance of completing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding the placement and protection of Indonesian domestic workers in Malaysia. In addition, the two countries also need to build a one-channel system so that the problem of placement of workers can be handled well to prevent workers from becoming victims of human trafficking.
Second, Indonesia will continue to fight against palm oil discrimination. The efforts will be stronger if it is conducted together. Indonesia invites Malaysia to have the same commitment regarding the issue of palm oil.
Third, I appreciated the principle agreement for the formation of the Travel Corridor Arrangement (TCA) of both countries and the timing of the TCA will be communicated later. I also conveyed the importance of ASEAN to immediately complete the ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement Framework and in this tough situation, it is important for the ASEAN to continue to maintain its solidity.
Fourth, we also discussed regional and global issues, including the development of political situation in Myanmar. We shared deep concern over political turmoil in Myanmar and expressed hope that it can be resolved based on the prevailing laws. In order to realize ASEAN’s visions, member countries must respect and uphold ASEAN Charter, particularly principles of rule of law, good governance, democracy, human rights, and constitutional government.
As part of one family, we have ordered foreign ministers of both countries to speak with the Chair of ASEAN to propose for ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting regarding Myanmar’s situation. Also on that bilateral meeting, we have discussed regarding the issue of Rohingya and shared hope that the issue remains as our common concern. In addition, we also shared our view about regional stability and security. I reiterated that stability, including in South China Sea, will be established if all countries respect international laws, particularly the 1982 UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on The Law of the Sea).
I conclude my statement.
Prime Minister, the floor is yours.
Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
Prime Minister of Malaysia (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin)
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
Thank you President Jokowi, President of the Republic of Indonesia.
First and foremost, allow me to convey my highest appreciation to the President for receiving me and Malaysian delegates in my first state visit as the 8th Prime Minister of Malaysia. I thank you.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and strict health protocols, the Indonesian Government still gave wonderful welcoming ceremony. Thank you.
As close friends and ASEAN founding countries, Malaysia and Indonesia have a very close ties. I really appreciate this increasingly close ties.
I believe through the spirit of one family, we can resolve all issues for the prosperity of people in both countries and in Southeast Asia.
I would like to add several points of note to President Jokowi’s statement:
First, the Myanmar issue. Malaysia, just like Indonesia, has deep concern over political turmoil in Myanmar and considered the current situation a step back for democracy in the country. It is our fear that Myanmar’s political unrest could also disturb security and stability in the region. Therefore, I agree that both countries’ foreign ministers to bring the issue to ASEAN.
Second, negotiation for Reciprocal Green Lane and Travel Corridor Arrangement Framework (RGL-TCA). The RGL-TCA scheme aims to stimulate trade between Malaysia and Indonesia during the pandemic. The first negotiation has started and I hope both countries to hold another negotiation to set up standard operating procedure/SOP for the implementation of reciprocal green lane scheme. I am sure that both countries can reach an agreement in near future. Government institutions overseeing health sector in the two countries also must evaluate the COVID-19 situation before the implementation.
On cooperation against palm oil discrimination. President Jokowi and I have discussed our concern on campaign against palm oil in European countries, Australia, and Oceania. That campaign does not represent global palm preservation and contrary to the commitment of the European Union, and World Trade Organization on free trade principles. For that reason, Malaysia has filed a lawsuit against the EU on 15 January 2021 to follow similar step taken by Indonesia in December 2019. Malaysia will continue to cooperate with Indonesia in this issue and initiate council of palm oil producing countries to save palm oil industry and millions of palm farmers whose livelihood depends on palm oil industry in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Regarding deportation and recalibration plan of illegal immigrants, I told President Jokowi to urge Indonesian representative in Malaysia to offer recalibration program, or amnesty program to Indonesian illegal migrant workers so they can return to their home. Recalibration program is ongoing now until June. I also called on the President to ensure that all Indonesian migrant workers will enter Malaysia through legal procedures.
The Kingdom of Malaysia will also cooperate with the Government of Indonesia to ensure that the employment and protection of Indonesian migrant workers and domestic workers are based of provisions of laws and regulations. Malaysia believes discussion among both countries will result in an agreement of MoU on the Employment and Protection of Indonesian Domestic Workers in Malaysia, in line with labor law in respective countries.
We have talked about cooperation of nature, haze, and climate change in order to preserve natural sustainability. Related agencies on both countries can work together in implementing best available practice to handle peat land issue. In addition, related ministries in both countries can also enhance communication on the issue of natural preservation and haze.
The discussion also touched on the issue of MoU on common guidelines to improve prosperity of Malaysian and Indonesian fishermen in conflicted regions. Malaysia expects both countries to give full commitment in the implementation of the MoU.
Regarding South China Sea, Malaysia believes maritime issue in that area must be resolved based on international law including the 1982 UNCLOS. All sides must restain themselves from doing provocation and militarization. Malaysia also committed to resolve South China Sea issue through suitable forum and diplomatic channels.
Based on our fruitful discussion, I think it is the right time to enhance cooperation of Malaysia and Indonesia and make it more strategic. By doing so, I believe we can make the best use of ongoing cooperation, particularly on economic sector, trade, and investment.
The framework reflected determination of both leaders in joining hands to preserve prosperity of the two countries. For that reason, we have ordered respective foreign ministers to prioritize strategic sectors.
To close my statement, allow me to express my highest appreciation to the President for receiving my visit. I believe this is a historical meeting for all of us. I am grateful when the President told me that we can talk by phone anytime once there is an issue.
Once again, I thank you for the consideration. I hope the relations between Malaysia and Indonesia can be further strengthened for the sake of our common interests.
I thank you.
Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh. (RAS/LW)